Above average temperatures and dry conditions helped farmers in Iowa and the Midwest speed up harvesting the corn and soybeans crops this past week. The weekly weather and crop conditions survey released by Iowa Ag Statistics Service on October 1 shows that harvest was in full swing across the state until rain showers on September 29 and 30 chased farmers out of the fields.
Iowa farmers focused on soybean harvest last week, with progress in the North Central District well ahead of other districts. Corn has dried well in the fields.
There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork, compared to 5.2 days a year ago. Topsoil moisture rated zero percent very short, 4 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus across the state. Subsoil moisture rated 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus.
75 percent of Iowa crop rates good to excellent
The government survey shows 94 percent of the corn has reached maturity, ahead of both last year's 92 percent and the 5-year average of 89 percent. Statewide, the percent moisture of corn in the field is 22 percent, with harvested corn moisture averaging 18 percent.
In Iowa, 13 percent of the corn has been harvested, 6 percent ahead of last year and 4 percent ahead of the 5-year average of 9 percent. Corn condition as of October 1 rates 2 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 53 percent good and 21 percent excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves is at 93 percent, equal to both last year and the 5-year average.
For soybeans, 35 percent of Iowa acres have been harvested, 12 percent ahead of last year's harvest at this time and 5 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Soybean condition rates 1 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 55 percent good and 21 percent excellent.
Pasture condition rates 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 51 percent good and 14 percent excellent.
Remember to work safely during harvest
In western central Iowa, Mark Licht, Iowa State University extension field agronomist at Carroll, says early numbers for commercial corn yields in his area have ranged from 170 to 190 bushels an acre with moisture of 17 percent to 20 percent. Licht reminds farmers to be safe during harvest. Several farm-related accidents and at least two deaths have already occurred this harvest season in Iowa. "As you go out to harvest, if you find yourself driving behind a slow-moving vehicle give them some time and space on the road," says Licht.
With all the hours everyone puts in this time of year, fatigue is a huge safety issue. "The crop has to come out, so the hours will be worked. Let's be as careful as possible this fall," he adds.